ADH Task

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Politics Reflection

In tok class, we were tasked to do three tests regarding our political bias, when the outcomes came out, I wasn’t too surprised with the results. My results show I was relatively right and a bit authoritarian. Although I saw myself as more of a central person, I believe overtime, I have shifted views on my political views and deviated from a central politics stance. Although I am definetly not a fascist, I believe that my political perspectives can be quite conservative at times. This conservacy might come from the environment I was exposed to when I was in primary school which had more conservative teachers.

Although some people would think I am very political due to the fact that whenever I see false accusations made against China I become deeply enraged, I would not consider myself to be a really “political” person, a really political person in my books would be someone that is actively a part of politics, or one that takes physical measures to advocate for certain political movements. I do not partake in any political movements, therefore I wouldn’t say that I am a political person.

I was about 80% less biased according to one of the test, I was surprised with the high accuracy that I have recieved. I would consider my political stance to be very aggressive and sometimes though I would be less objective when considering things, apparently, I am less biased than I though I would be; for which I am glad to hear.

Politics is a very complex topic, it can never be fully understoood, and it also has many flaws to it. Across the globe, people are having skewed opinion, recieving biased or totally invalid information and seeing the world in a non-objective lens. This all adds up to humanity becoming more hostile to each other. See the current relationship between the US and China as an example. Both sides have a lot of bias, from the online platforms I was on, the American society sees China like it is a sore in the eye, and many news platforms are magnifying issues to exagerate how “terrible” China is. These types of organizations and individuals are the plague amongst humanity that create disunity and division between culture, race or even gender and unfortunately, this phenomenon will not have a change in the short term.

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“Norman Fontenelle”- A Photo from “The Harlem Family”

The mid-20th century was the height of the civil rights movement where African-Americans were fighting hard for equal rights under the constitution of the United States. Gordon Parks, an African American photographer, documented and exhibited the desolated lives of individuals under racial injustice and oppression through his photography. In his collection “A Harlem Family”, Parks captures and follows the life of an African-American family living in poverty. In a particular photo within this collection, “Norman Fontenelle”, Parks’ use of symbolism, composition, and facial expression complement one another to enhance the level of criticism expressed on the racial injustices in the United States.

Symbolism is a technique seen persistently across many of Parks’ photos. Here, the use of symbolism in “Norman Fontenelle” serves to elevate the meaning behind the photo. Norman Fontenelle Sr. is seen in front of a broken mirror or broken window with only his face and partial upper body visible. A shattered window is a sign of desolation, disappointment, and fragility. When connected to the context of the photo, the broken glass shows how the racial injustices at that time have disappointed many African-Americans, made them feel vulnerable and isolated without help. Furthermore, a shattered window can also mean a loss of clarity; as when the glass was still perfect, you can see right through it without any cracks obscuring the view. This implies that because of the racial injustices, many African-Americans lost the clarity and vision in life.

In the composition of the photo, Norman Fontenelle stands behind the broken window and the background is complete darkness. Focusing on the relationship of the background and Norman Fontenelle, the darkness in the background blurs the outline of his body, almost as if he is being engulfed by the background. Religiously, when one is engulfed by darkness, they are surrounded by the wicked, the holy spirits are unable to come inside and with light unable to shine upon them. Other interpretations of a person engulfed by darkness can be seen as one lost in life with the darkness blocking the direction to the light at the end of the tunnel. In this photo, the darkness can be characterized as the racial oppression the black community had to endure and render many to be insecure and lost.

The facial expression of Norman Fontenelle was also a key factor that added to the melancholy present in the photo. Norman Fontenelle was captured in this photo looking beyond the camera and out the broken window. His eyes are watery, suggesting he had an emotional moment recently, the capturing of his eyes filled with water would invoke the audience to think what Norman Fontenelle has just gone through causing him to be in such anguish. His eyes are focused on something beyond the camera, suggesting he is looking at something unknown that could contribute to his sadness. A possible interpretation can be that he is looking and thinking about the future, which when connected to the time the photo is taken made the future of many African-Americans very unpredictable and surrounded by uncertainties, adding to the disappointing mood of the photo.

A distinguished photographer, Gordon Parks told the world of the devastating effects produced by racism through his lens. Parks’ thorough incorporation of symbolism, composition, and facial expression in the photo “Norman Fontenelle” add up to create a harmony of messages and does successfully tell the story of life under racial oppression and injustice.

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Atlanta Airport Gordon Parks

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Semester 1 TOK

During the first semester, we considered knowledge questions related to “Knowledge and the Knower” and “Knowledge and Technology.” Looking back, what learning engagements stand out to you the most and why?

In each section we explored in the class, we examined the objective with a variety of perspectives. Through this, I felt that the course is very engaging and enjoyable. The projects and debates we had really help to elevate our understandings to a higher level. The “Visual Gallery” was very helpful to visualize concepts that I was unsure of at the beginning.

In what ways, if any, has your perspective shifted as a result of your participation in this course so far?

The unit has certainly solidified my view of how technology influences our lives and learning. Previously, I was skeptical about how technology can have such large influences on the population/individual as to how one gathers knowledge. More specifically, before going into the unit, I never really saw technology to be very harmful in certain ways and saw it as a tool that is very useful to our learning. This unit in TOK completely reformed my perspective on technology for learning with me seeing technology now as a tool that should be used with caution.

 

Looking ahead to the exhibition requirement, what do you want to keep in mind?

I would need to explain a variety of concepts with both conceptual explanations and relate them to examples (real-world context) For the upcoming TOK exhibition, my objective will be to plan accordingly and not to procrastinate.

Thinking back on the writing you have done so far in the course, what can you do to continue to hone your skills?

I should focus more on being more specific when explaining my “thesis” and concepts. I believe I have done well in terms of researching for projects this year so far and I hope to continue this by maintaining my critical reading abilities to filter out sources that are not credible.

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English IO Reflection

-What global issue did you focus on?

-What extract did you choose?

-What authorial choices did you focus on, both in the extract and the work as a whole?

-What do you think went well in terms of your oral?

-What do you still need to improve on?

-What will you do differently as you prepare next time?

For the oral, the global issue discussed was racial and cultural assimilation. To reflect on this global issue, I took pages 96 and 97 from the book as extracts as supporting evidence for my discussion. During my analysis of the extract, I analyzed the graphics(portrayal of characters, settings, symbolism), diction, and thought bubbles that were present in the extract. Moving on to the entire work, I zoomed out to a bigger picture and made connections with the two other stories, Chin-Kee and the Monkey King, and how all three stories merge together at the end to bring Jin to a sense of realization and equilibrium. I was able to express all my points coherently and I believe I had a smoother delivery than my previous orals. However, I could improve the formality of my language and provide a deeper analysis of my extract and whole book. Next time, I would annotate more and learn more literature techniques so I can gain a better understanding of the extract.

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English First Impression

This is my first time listening to rap in my life. Although I remain neutral on this style of music, I believe it is a great way to express one’s inner feelings and social issues. In the album “DAMN” by Kendrick Lamar, his songs included his personal experiences which can relate to the social issue of racism and such. The song titles were also one word, and I think he did that to emphasize the theme/message of the song. In his songs, he repeats the title of the song quite a few times, possibly enhancing the theme. Overall, the album and the songs had some interesting things in it and I am interested in exploring the behinds of the songs.

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Cartoon Project “Swim”

Link to my cartoon:

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Rationale:

The cartoon was intended to portray my relationship with my favorite sport, swimming, and my persona. By switching from real life to thoughts inside my head, the cartoon emulates “the hero’s journey”, emphasizing the path I took challenging myself and breaking through a barrier.

A series of symbolism helps to display my miniature physique compared to the other competitors. On the first page, I compare myself to the other competitors in terms of height, I use symbolism as well as hyperbole by portraying the others as trees to further emphasize the significant height disadvantages I have compared to the others. Later on the second page, swimmers in the race are portrayed as rockets being launched, not only did I use symbolism to reflect my height disadvantage, but also to symbolize the atmosphere of swim meets, energetic and exciting like the launch of a rocket.

The art style of the cartoon was intentionally decided. When the cartoon was in the settings of the real world, there is a broader range of colors along with a more realistic illustration of objects and figures. When the cartoon transitions to inside my mind, the illustrations become rather surreal and have a more fictional appearance. By doing so, I was able to exaggerate the mind activity I underwent during the race. This style of art would also serve to inform the audience when the cartoon is set in either the real world or in my head. The composition of this cartoon remained simple and straightforward throughout, this reflects the characteristics of swimming itself. To determine the greatness of a swimmer, there is only one simple criterion, their times. Just like what Chinese phrase says “you can’t live only by looking good, but you can live if you have a trick up your sleeves”.

In the cartoon, I applied monologues to exhibit the conflicts and hardships I endured amid the race in a more humorous fashion. Monologues in the cartoon also reflect the character of myself. Page 6 at the bottom, I say to myself “If I get a medal, the girl I like will like me back.” From this quote, it reflects a trait of mine which is that I often find reasons to gain more momentum and push through barriers.

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Debate Is Ignorance Bliss?

In class today, a debate unfolded with the prompt being “Is Ignorance Bliss”.

Pro Side:

Claim: Ignorance outputs sustainable bliss.

Reason: Firstly assumes that being ignorant is being in a state of satisfaction and pleasantness. This state of satisfaction will remain constant until acted on by an outside force such as knowledge, it disturbs the person which in terms makes them not bliss. An example of such can be found in the real world where a person is aware of negative situations surrounding not only the person themselves but others, however, in times there is often little that one could to the effect that unhappiness, therefore if a person were to be ignorant and disregard the matter, he will be bliss as there will be no outside factors affecting him.

 

Con Side:

Claim: Ignorance only causes more negativity and ignorance can only cause short term bliss.

Reason: People do not begin in a state of bliss and they need to be acted upon by an outside force to get into a state of bliss in the first place. To ignore and disregard the issue at hand may bring short-term bliss but in the long run, is dangerous. Ignorance of an individual may seem like bliss only to themselves, but if most people choose to be ignorant, society will be in disarray. Finally, it is knowledge and the eager to seek improvement that propelled mankind to excel on this planet, the society we so depend and thrive on very much is founded on knowledge.

 

The winner:

Overall, the judges awarded the Pro side with the win. Personally, if I was a judge, I would have a hard time deciding a victor as both sides had a near-identical performance. However, one thing I felt both sides failed to do was to produce a sufficiently productive debate as both sides were constantly arguing and reforming the definition of the topic rather than debating why their view is superior to the opposite. However, I would be rather neutral on judging as both teams produced an equal outcomes. But since I was a representative of the con side, if I must reside on a result, I cannot guarantee an objective score as there will be factors of bias.

 

My Opinion:

If I had to be completely honest I would consider that “ignorance is not bliss”. My ideology is that ignorance is never beneficial and will induce no progress. Connecting the topic to the real world, ignorance will seem to bring bliss in the short term but will do more harm than good in the future, for example, if a student in math has a gap in his knowledge but disregards it and goes to do other things instead, in the short term it will bring relaxation to that student but when the exam comes, it negative effects of being ignorant surfaces. Therefore, I stand by the claim that ignorance is not bliss.

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Are some ways of knowing more likely to lead to the truth?

What are the ways of knowing one might ask? To give a brief answer, the ways of knowing can be categorized into language, emotions, sense perception, imagination, reason, faith, memory, and intuition. Despite there being many ways one can explore and know new knowledge, there will certainly be differences between all 8 of the ways of knowing. But is there one that is the best of all? To answer that, we must define what it means to “know”, for a person to know something is the truth, most of the time depends on a person’s faith and belief. However, humans often have different understandings regarding one topic, even the very definition of “know”. To examine if some ways of knowing are more likely to lead to the truth, I will be focusing on the 8 ways of knowing as well as the way they apply to real-world examples to suggest that all ways of knowing are not inferior to each other but are in fact dependent of each other.

To approach my thesis, we will be examining a selection way of knowing first, discussing their properties and limitations.

1.Language

Language can be interpreted as a set of symbols that allow humans to communicate ideas with others. Language is of great significance to know certain things, had humans never developed a language system, mankind would never be as prosperous as it is. However, since there is no universal language, the limitation of language arises as it is only accessible to certain populations. For instance, if a Chinese university is teaching class, a person that is non-Chinese wouldn’t quite understand what is happening as that person does not speak Chinese.

2.Emotions

Emotions are the foundations of humanity, this way of knowing is very influencing as emotions can be leading factors to decide how one is to perceive a certain thing or event. But emotions are often unstable, some even regard it as irrational, it is more prone to be subjective and emotions also vary from person to person, therefore generating different views and perceptions of certain things.

3.Sense perception

Sense perception is a concept of how one can observe the world; the five senses, look, smell, hear, touch, and taste all contribute to the way a person sees their surroundings. These senses are given to us at birth and are essential to our survival. This way of knowing despite letting us experience things from different angles, are only limited to what we can know physically. (things that we can only know biologically)

4.Reason

Reasoning is more linked to logic, it is a process of knowledge that leads to a valid outcome. Often times we use reasoning to deduct outcomes that may be conceptual or hard to interpret as a whole by thinking about the logic behind of an object/event. Although reasoning being a way of knowing with more accuracy, it only goes as far as the capability of the individual. For example to let a second grader prove the pythagorean theorm will be near impossible as the second grader was never exposed to such knowledge therefore unable to use reasoning to know what the pythagorean theorm is.

To combine the 4 ways of knowing listed above and give a clearer image of how the ways of knowing does not have one that is significant over the other but in fact compliments each other, think of an example where a person is painting a painting, the painter would first use sense perception to see what he will be drawing, mix the colors needed, feel the force applied to the pen to create strokes of different sizes, then he would need to use emotions to feel what mood he would want the painting to be; is it sad, joyful or neutral? At last for the painting stages, the painter would need to use his reasoning to inform him that one way of composition is better than the other way of composition based on art theories. When the painter is done, he would also need to explain the context of the painting, (the inspiration, colors and techniques etc.)

Seeing the examples above, it can be infered that there is no way of learning that is superior or inferior to the others but all the ways of knowing work together to lead to the clearest truth.

 

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